How and When to Delay a Job Offer

How and When to Delay a Job Offer

offer

By Mark Swartz
Monster Contributing Writer


You’ve just received a job offer. But you think you could do better elsewhere. You’re confident you can get at least one superior offer pronto. Can you delay the one you’ve already got?
 
Employers usually allow for a couple of days to respond. If you need a week or two, there are ways to try for an extension. The risks, however, grow with each day of deferral. You could end up losing the first offer. And a “better” one may not materialize at all. What then?
 
Avoid being caught in a bind. Know what you’re willing to hold out for. Try to secure more time using low-risk strategies. Then accelerate any other offer(s) you’d like to consider. Keep in mind that Rome burned while Nero fiddled away.
 
When To Delay A Job Offer
You’ve worked hard to get that offer. If it’s from an acceptable employer, except the salary, perks or title are unsatisfactory, negotiate for improved terms. Do so fairly quickly or the employer may think you’re not interested. They could also conclude that you’re playing games – and ditch you entirely.
 
Consider delaying only if it’s really necessary. Here are some situations where an extension might be justified:
 
·         It’s important for this job to work out, yet you haven’t had a chance to properly investigate the employer
·         You’re close to certain that a better offer will arrive soon from another employer, and the position will be a strong fit for you
·         You’re expecting a counter-offer from your current employer to keep you there, though you’re prepared to stay or go regardless what happens
·         The employer who gave you an offer demands an answer within a day (or on the spot)
 
Delaying Sincerely And Honestly
One way to reduce the risk when delaying, is to give the employer a legitimate reason. Be honest and tell them, for instance, if you’re expecting, or entertaining, another offer. Emphasize that you want to make the best decision for all involved.
 
Credible employers won’t attempt to jam you. They’d rather give you several more days to deliberate. They’d also prefer that you reject them courteously, than bear the expense of hiring and replacing you should you quit shortly after.
 
There are other acceptable reasons you can give an employer when asking for an extension. One is that you’d like an employment lawyer to review the offer. This is more applicable the more senior your role.
 
Another reason is that circumstances prevent you from responding right now. You could defend this if, say, a loved one is in crisis, or you’re leaving town for a week or two.
 
Tips On Delaying Legitimately
Sincerity matters when asking for an extension. Lying, or coming across as shifty, can return to haunt you.
 
A credible method of delaying is to ask for the offer to be detailed in writing. It might buy you a day or two. You’d be unwise to accept a verbal offer as the final word anyway. People forget critical details and it’s hard to prove it.
 
You could also send back the offer with requests for revisions. Did they make any important errors or omissions? If so, insist on seeing their revised version before responding.
 
Once you have their complete version, you can begin to negotiate. Replying with your written counter-offer could gain you a few more days. They’ll have to review your requests and ponder their stance. Don’t drag out the negotiations excessively. It signals the employer that you’re too demanding or indecisive.
 
Delaying In Bad Faith 
Ruder still (and potentially actionable legally) is to accept the first offer, but keep on job searching till a better one comes along. Be sure you work in a field with tons of employers who don’t speak to one another. Don’t be shocked, either, if the external recruiter you’ve burned comes after you for compensation.
 
Be Prepared In Advance
Delaying a job offer is a delicate balance. You’ll be better equipped if you anticipate outcomes. Start by being very clear about what your ideal offer might look like. Research ahead of time employers you’d like to work for.
 
Keeping a few spare bucks in the bank will aid you in holding out longer. That goes doubly if no other offers surface and you lose the first one. You can avoid this disaster by being reasonable and open with prospective employers.